SWARCO Raiders beat Finnish champion

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DE Chris James intercepted two passes (Photo: Schellhorn)

The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, celebrated a convincing victory in their first appearance in the European Football League (EFL) this season. The Tyroleans beat Finnish champion Helsinki Roosters 52-13 (14-0; 24-6; 0-0; 14-7) and easily moved on to the semifinals.

The semifinal opponent in the battle for the Eurobowl crown will be the winner of the game between defending Eurobowl champion Calanda Broncos (Switzerland) and German champion Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

"It was a good game and an important win. We played very focused and took the fight out of them", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "The Roosters haven't played in the EFL in quite some time. You could tell that we were at a physical advantage".

RB/DB Jaycen Taylor had 4 rushes for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also caught 2 passes for 30 yards and scored on a 70-yard interception return touchdown. DE Chris James played his first game of the season and made his presence felt. He intercepted 2 passes, returning one for a touchdown. DB Markus Krause also caught an interception. It was his third pick in two games.

QB Kyle Callahan completed 14 of 19 passes for 175 yards with 2 touchdowns. He also had 7 rushes for 36 yards. WR Talib Wise had 7 rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 3 balls for 19 yards. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 3 balls for 63 yards and a score.

The Roosters won the coin toss and elected to receive. After the kickoff and a short return they began at their own 35. QB Robert Johnson led his team to the opposing 29, before an incomplete pass on fourth down turned the ball over. The SWARCO Raiders took over and on their second play from scrimmage Wise ran 37 yards. Then he rushed for 14 yards. On the next play Callahan found Taylor for 12 yards. Even a penalty couldn't stop the Tyroleans as they scored on a 13-yard touchdown run by Taylor. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher kicked the extra point to give the home site a 7-0 lead with 5:20 minutes left in the first.

After Erlsbacher's kickoff and a touchback the Roosters started at their 25. Johnson opened the drive with a 24-yard pass to WR Roberto Ciasulli. Then WR Kuutti Kilpeläinen caught a 19-yarder. But yet again the drive ended with an imcomplete pass on fourth down. This time the SWARCO Raiders took over at their own 36. A penalty gave the Tyroleans 11 yards. And moments later Callahan threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Tarneller. The PAT extended the lead to 14-0 with 3:05 minutes left in the first.

Helsinki started their next possession at the 14, but had to punt after three plays. The Tyrolean offense regained the ball at their own 43. Callahan opened the drive with a 26-yard run. Then Wise rushed for 13 yards and 7 yards. Callahan finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to WR Julian Ebner. Erlsbacher added the extra point to give the SWARCO Raiders a 21-0 lead with 11:53 minutes left in the second.

After the ensuing kickoff the Roosters took over at their own 13. Again they had to punt after three plays. A short punt gave the Tyroleans the ball at the opposing 32. Taylor started with a 5-yard run. Then Callahan ran to the 18. And on the next play Taylor danced through the defense for an 18-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the SWARCO Raiders were up 28-0 with 9:32 minutes left in the second.

Starting their next drive at their own 16 the Roosters finally came to life. RB Aleksander Kuronen ran for 10 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Then Johnson ran for 8 yards. Two passes to Kilpeläinen resulted in first downs. Then WR Illka Laitinen caught a pass at the opposing 29. Later Kuronen ran 22 yards to the 1. A penalty moved the ball back, but on fourth down Johnson ran 17 yards for the score. On the ensuing two-point try Wise picked off Johnson's pass. With 3:57 minutes left in the second the SWARCO Raiders lead was 28-6.

The Tyroleans started their next drive at the 25 with a 23-yard run by Callahan. Then Taylor caught an 18-yard pass. The drive ended without a touchdown, but not without points. Erlsbacher kicked a 50-yard field goal to extend the SWARCO Raiders lead to 31-6 with 1:59 minutes left before halftime.

A touchback on the ensuing kickoff gave the Roosters the ball at their own 25. Two completions to Lievonen moved the ball to the 40. Then Laitinen caught a 15-yarder. Standing at the opposing 36 the Roosters once again gambled on fourth down. Johnson's short pass was picked off by Taylor, who returned the interception 70 yards for the score. The PAT extended the lead to 38-6 with 44 seconds left in the second.

The Roosters marched down the field quickly after the kickoff. Johnson completed three straight passes to give his team a first down at the Tyrolean 41. But his next pass was intercepted by Krause near the goal line.

The Tyroleans received the opening kickoff of the second half. But for the first time in more than two games they had to punt. After Erlsbacher's punt the Roosters took over at their own 32. Johnson found Lievonen for 15 yards. A pass to Ciasulli gave Helsinki a first down at the Tyrolean 31. A penalty even moved the ball to the 9. But after a short run and three straight incompletions the SWARCO Raiders took over at their own 7.

Quickly they moved the ball out of the danger zone and to the opposing 15. But a missed field goal gave the ball back to Helsinki. Eino Matikainen came in to play quarterback. On the Roosters very first play his pass was intercepted by James, who returned the ball to the opposing 11. The Tyroleans took full advantage of the situation when Wise scored on a 7-yard run. The PAT was good, giving the SWARCO Raiders a 45-6 lead with 10:08 minutes left in the fourth.

The Roosters next possession also ended in James' hands. After the kickoff and a short return Helsinki started at their own 9. On third down James stepped in front of Matikainen's pass and returned the ball 15 yards for the touchdown. Erlsbacher's extra point gave the Tyroleans a 52-6 lead with 8:48 minutes left.

After the kickoff the Finnish team took over at their 21. Johnson came back into the game and moved the chains with his feet and his arm. The drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Kilpeläinen. The PAT was good. The final score was 52-13.

The SWARCO Raiders have a bye-week now and then play at the Danube Dragons on June 8.

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